Turks in Russia
|109,883 (2010 census)
75,000 Meskhetian Turks
plus 130,437 Turkish nationals
Total at least 120,000-150,000 (academic estimates)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Kabardino-Balkaria · Kalmykia · Krasnodar Krai · Rostov Oblast · Stavropol Krai|
|Turkish and Russian|
The First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union in 1926 recorded 8,570 Ottoman Turks living in the Soviet Union. The Ottoman Turks are no longer listed separately in the census, it is presumed that those who were living in Russia have either been assimilated into Russian society or have left the country.
Meskhetian Turks migration
|Turks in Russia according to the Russian census[disambiguation needed]|
During World War II, the Soviet Union was preparing to launch a pressure campaign against Turkey. Vyacheslav Molotov, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, formally presented a demand to the Turkish Ambassador in Moscow for the surrender of three Anatolian provinces (Kars, Ardahan and Artvin); thus, war against Turkey seemed possible, and Joseph Stalin wanted to clear the strategic Turkish population (especially those situated in Meskheti) located near the Turkish-Georgian border which were likely to be hostile to Soviet intentions. In 1944, Meskhetian Turks were forcefully deported from Meskheti in Georgia and accused of smuggling, banditry and espionage in collaboration with their kin across the Turkish border. Nationalistic policies at the time encouraged the slogan: "Georgia for Georgians" and that the Meskhetian Turks should be sent to Turkey "where they belong". Joseph Stalin deported the Meskhetian Turks to Central Asia (especially to Uzbekistan), thousands dying en route in cattle-trucks, and were not permitted by the Georgian government of Zviad Gamsakhurdia to return to their homeland.
In the late 1970s, the Stavropol and Krasnodar authorities visited various regions of Uzbekistan to invite and recruit Meskhetian Turks to work in agriculture enterprises in southern Russia. In 1985, Moscow issued a proposal inviting more Meskhetian Turks to move to villages in southern Russia that had been abandoned by ethnic Russians who were moving to the cities. However, the Meskhetian Turks response was that they would only leave Uzbekistan if the move were to be to their homeland. Then, in 1989, ethnic Uzbeks began a series of actions against the Turks; they became the victims of riots in the Ferghana valley which led to over a hundred deaths. Within days, Decision 503 was announced "inviting" the Turks to occupy the empty farms in southern Russia that they had resisted moving to for years and around 17,000 Meskhetian Turks were evacuated to Russia. Meskhetian Turks maintain that Moscow had planned the Uzbek riots. By the early 1990s, the 70,000 Meskhetian Turks who were still resident in Uzbekistan left for Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine due to fears of continued violence.
Mainland Turkish migration
During the 2000s, Russia witnessed increasing numbers of immigrants from Turkey; Turkish labour migrants grew, on average, by 30–50% per annum. By 2008, over 130,000 Turkish citizens were working in Russia.
According to the 2010 Russian Census, 105,058 people declared themselves as "Turks" and 4,825 stated that they were "Meskhetian Turks"; hence, the census showed that there was a total of 109,883 Turks living in the country.
Meskhetian Turks in Russia, especially those in Krasnodar, have faced hostility from the local population. The Krasnodar Meskhetian Turks have suffered significant human rights violations, including the deprivation of their citizenship. They have been deprived of civil, political and social rights and are prohibited from owning property and employment. Since 2004, many are now leaving the Krasnodar region for the United States as refugees.
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